Benjamin Carroll

Mom Beaten on Subway Over Son's Costume Question Speaks Out in Exclusive Interview

"There were about one hundred people on the train, and [she] smacked me so hard that my feet lifted off the floor," the woman recalled

What to Know

  • A mother was attacked on an NYC subway after her 8-year-old son asked why another rider's child was wearing a costume
  • The costumed child was accompanied by two women, who apparently were upset about the comment, police say
  • One of the women put the 50-year-old mother in a chokehold while the other punched her and hit her with a cellphone, authorities say

A mother who was beaten on a train after her 8-year-old son asked her why another child on the train was wearing a costume said her attacker hit her so hard that her "feet lifted off the floor."

Margaret Nielson, 50, was on an E train at 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue with her son two days after Halloween when her son noticed another child wearing a costume, she told NBC 4 New York in an exclusive interview. 

The costume caught her son's eye because he enjoys wearing costumes and often dresses up as different superheroes, Nielson said. 

"... [H]e looked over and he saw a little boy about six wearing a bumblebee costume," Nielson said. "To see somebody his age wearing stuff that he wears, and especially out on the train... he thought that was the coolest thing." 

Police say the two women with the bumblebee costume-clad child were upset by Nielson's son's comment. 

"She got up, and she was screaming at me, screaming at me," Nielson recalled. "She started cursing at me, telling me to tell my kid to show some respect, and have some respect."

"I was like, 'He wasn't speaking to you, he was speaking to me. And it was an innocent comment from an 8-year-old kid,'" Nielson said. 

That's when one of the women attacked Nielson, she recalled. 

"There were about one hundred people on the train, and [she] smacked me so hard that my feet lifted off the floor," she said. 

After the woman hit her, Nielson clung to her son to protect him — at which point one of the women hit her in the face with a cell phone, she said. 

Another woman then put her in a chokehold, authorities said. 

Nielson's fellow passengers pulled the woman off of her and formed a shield to prevent any further attacks, she said. 

The women fled the train after the attack and haven't been arrested.

"It's very, very sad that women could do that to other women at this point," Nielson said. "We are supposed to be helping each other, and they attacked me over nothing." 

Nielson thanked the passengers who protected her from the attack. 

"To the strangers who helped... I want to say thank you for helping me when I needed it, because not a lot of people would do that," she said. 

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